Monday, June 1, 2015

Week 46 (June 1, 2015 Camiling, Philippines)

Dear Mother Dearest,
Yup, the mission is pretty much super great. It can still be super challenging and frustrating sometimes, but then knowing that it's because of other's moral agency, and not necessarily (or fully, at least) your lack of diligence makes it a bit better. We had a District Conference yesterday where President Clark spoke. He shared a story about Project Noah in Zimbabwe where these rescuers went out trying to save animals stranded on slowly sinking islands. Despite the good and pure intentions of the rescuers, the animals got sort of freaked out because of everything that was happening and would attack some of the rescuers. A lot of people were hurt, and a lot of people wanted to quit. "They're not worth the pain they inflict," they said. And then President Clark related that to us as missionaries. We go to people, offering rescue and salvation. People get freaked out and sort of annoyed that two little kids are at their doorstep asking if they want to "learn about Jesus", so they yell at us, or throw things, or Bible Bash. Others just waste our time by running and hiding (which is absolutely super funny when it's the little old nanays... just image great-grandma White literally running from the Missionaries). President Clark says that sometimes we want to give up, but that's not an option in this rescue mission. The quality of their rescue will in even the smallest ways, affect our own. Cool thought.

Well, I experienced another super miracle this week... I wrote in my Journal!! :D Which means I have stuff to write about :)

I tried another cool food thing this week. It was fried squid. It was actually pretty okay. Their lip things are kind of hard, so I didn't eat that, but I ate the tentacles and the body and the battle axe hat thing that they have. They're just super chewy, so it took me a while to eat it, even though he was just a little guy. The best part about it though is that an investigator cooked it for us. Actually, I guess she's a less active, but her kids are investigators. The Navelgas family. Frances is 13, and is progressing super well. He's goaled for July 11. His older sister is really friendly and likes to listen, but still is too busy at work to keep commitments very well. Maybe with time.

During this week, I also discovered some Kokori. It's a Legend of Zelda Reference. Basically it's a group of kids that live in a Mango forest, and when we met them the first time, their were no adults. These little kids were cooking lunch, and washing their clothes, and doing everything adults do, and living happy lives. So I've begun to refer to them as the Kokori. Anyway, it turns out their dad was just at work, but when we came back, he was there and so we were able to teach them about the Restoration. The three little kids attended church, but the dad was busy. However, he seems really interested and willing, and they don't live far at all from the church, so I'm super excited for them. There real names, starting from the Dad and going through to the youngest child, are: Romeo Aguilar, Rommel, Raymond, Rochelle, Romeo Jr, and Rjour. Romeo Jr and Rjour are too young for baptism, but they still like to listen. It's a good family.

On Tuesday night, we walked for an hour (no exaggeration), to get to one of our more progressing areas. When we got their, we weren't able to teach one of the three families we were planning on because some punks forced the family's 10-year old son to drink a whole bottle of beer by himself. The kid couldn't stop throwing up, and so the family just told us to leave. I kind of wish we would've offered a blessing, but the family isn't super receptive or progressive anyway, plus the kid was drunk. The kid was alright, though, when we went back three days later.
Our other investigator in the area hit a bit of a rough patch because he was the only one in his family interested, but wasn't too keen on switching religions against his parents and siblings. He still wanted the lessons, just not the commitments. This is Jonathan by the way, whose mom was super against us teaching him at first. However, when we went to teach Jonathan this specific night, we told his mom about the situation, and asked if she could just sit in, so her son wouldn't feel so alone. She agreed, even if hesitantly at first, but as we were teaching about how the Gospel blesses Families, she started paying more attention, asking questions, and ended up with tears in her eyes. It was a really powerful lesson. She said she's going to try to get her husband to listen as well tomorrow. I love the Gospel :)

So in general, Missionary life is just like I described it earlier, regarding President Clark's story. We hit a bunch of rough patches, and want to turn back, but if we'll just keep moving forward and striving to help those we meet, we find more of the beautiful views along the way. That's something I'm starting to appreciate more about the Philippines in general. Sometimes I focus so much on staring at the ground, trying to not step in the mud and puddles, that I miss the beauty that's literally all around me. We're hitting rainy season now, which means we're trudging through knee deep flood water every afternoon, but everything looks super incredible after the storm :)

Sorry, rushing now, out of time.

Scripture for this week!
Mark 4
26 And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;

27 And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.

28 For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.

29 But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.

I found this in my study of Jesus the Christ. James E Talmage talks about its relevance to Missionary Work. As missionaries, we plant a lot of seeds, but our job isn't to grow the plant. The plant grows all on it's own. We can make the effort to provide a good doctrinal foundation, show them the light of Christ, and help them progress to the waters of baptism, but the growth can only happen within themselves. We can not force conversion on anyone. We can simply provide a healthy environment for growth.

Anyway, love you all so much, and I'll try to send some pictures, but no promises beacuse of time. Love you!!

Elder Syphus

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